The gunman opened fired and shot Karlov in the back multiple times several minutes into a speech he was delivering at the event. At least three others were wounded and transported to a local hospital in the exchange of fire. (WARNING: Graphic video below)
Before being killed by Turkish special forces, the attacker, who has been identified as 22-year-old Turkish police officer Mert Altintas, shouted “Allahu Akbar” in Turkish to those in attendance, claiming his actions were for the ongoing battle in Aleppo.
The attacker, who was off-duty at the time of the slaying, exclaimed: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria! Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova labeled the event a “terrorist act” and said the “day is tragic in the history of the Russian diplomacy.” The attack comes amid evolving relations between Russia and Turkey; though Turkey aggravated tensions when its air force shot down a Russian plane last year, this year the two countries worked to restore ties in pursuit of economic interests.
U.S. officials have strongly condemned the attack, calling the gunman’s actions “heinous.”
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